The findings were published online Nov. 5 in The Journal of Neuroscience.
The forgetful mice who took the vitamin did well. "Cognitively, they were cured," Green said. "They performed as if they'd never developed the disease."
The vitamin appears to work by clearing "tangles" of a protein known as tau in brain cells. In Alzheimer's disease, the protein becomes poisonous and contributes to dangerous clogging inside brain cells.
The vitamin holds promise for people, because it's cheap -- Green bought a year's supply for $30 -- and appears to be safe. Even so, "until we've done the proper clinical trials, I wouldn't advocate people rush out and eat grams of this stuff each day," he said.
Nixon said the new study is "intriguing," but people should be cautious and not assume that "more is better" when it comes to possible treatments, even ones that appear to be safe.
Learn more about Alzheimer's from the Alzheimer's Association.
SOURCES: Kim Green, Ph.D., researcher, University of California at Irvine; Ralph Nixon, M.D., Ph.D., vice chair, Alzheimer's Association Medical & Scientific Advisory Council, and professor, psychiatry and cell biology, New York University School of Medicine; Nov. 5, 2008, The Journal of Neuroscience, online
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